Monday, January 28, 2008

I Would Refer You To The Files Of The Missouri Democrat

In his letter to Al Spink, Merritt Griswold wrote "To start at the commencement of the game in its first introduction into Missouri I would refer you to the files of 'The Missouri Democrat' for the Winter of 1859 and 1860, wherein you will find published 'the rules of the game,' also a diagram showing the field and the position of each player made from a rough sketch I gave to Mr. McKee and Fishback, the publishers or to Mr. Houser, at that time their bookkeeper, cashier and confidential office man..."

"Refered" to the Democrat, we find in the April 26, 1860 issue a letter from Griswold as well as "the rules of the game" and "a diagram showing the field and position of each player" just as Griswold stated. This is not only fascinating in and of itself but it's also more confirmation of the claims that Griswold made in his letter to Spink.

Griswold's letter from the April 26, 1860 issue of the Democrat appears below and I'll post the rest of the article tomorrow. I have to give a big hat tip to Paul Conley, who was kind enough to send me a copy of the April 26th issue. Mr. Conley's book, The Origins of Base Ball in St. Louis, will be going to the publishers soon and trust me when I tell you that I'm looking forward to getting my hands on it.

1 comment:

Richard Hershberger said...

Excellent! This is more than we find in most cities. It isn't uncommon to find the rules printed in local newspaper in this era, often as a precursor to a club forming. But most are devoid of commentary. We can infer that something more was going on, but it is rarely explicit.

I look forward to the rest of the article, and to Paul Conley's book.